Double Dip Film Reviews: Pet Semetary and Shazam!

Yep, been a little while.  But don’t blame me, blame the slop we’ve been forced to sit through since the new year:  

I watched “Aquaman”, meh.  I did see, “Fighting With My Family.”  Enjoyed it and a nice chunk was the few scenes the Rock was in.  Vince Vaughn also solid in this.  Those are words not many people have written in over 10 years.  Also saw “Captain Marvel.”  Look, it wasn’t as bad as some people made it out to be but it certainly wasn’t good.  And the only thing missing was Samuel L Jackson wearing a postman’s uniform in that film.  Cause he mailed that shit in, big time.  The jokes failed, big time.  But they had the best Stan Lee cameo, big time.  

petsemtary

Honestly is the best policy, except when it comes to dealing with your wife.  I had no desire to see the new Pet Semetary film.  Never read the book, never saw the original film.  But the reviews were coming in much more positively than I expected.  I also expect the Stephen King remakes will be held to a higher caliber as It was fantastic.  So here we go:

Louis Creed (Jason Clarke of the unfortunate Terminator: Genisys) is moving his family up to the country.  Wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and kids Ellie and Gage (Jete Laurence and Hugo Lavoie) along with their cat, Church which is short for Churchill.  No reason given for naming the cat after a Gary Oldman character.  The house the family move into happens to be adjacent to a creepy pet cemetery.  Next door lives Jud (John Lithgow from the evergreen Harry and the Hendersons) who just may know what exactly is going on with said cemetery.  

Cue things going bump in the night, premonitions, the usual suspects of horror films.  Poor Church decides to go one on with a tractor trailer and ends up like a Mortal Kombat Fatality victim.  Neighbor Jud (who would ever saddle their kid with that name) suggests that burying the cat beyond the pet cemetery may benefit the Creed family.  Well guess what?  That’s an Indian burial ground past the cemetery and good ol’ Church just happens to cash in on 1 of the 9 lives.  Although he looks like he just spent all night raging at a fraternity party and ripping off 14 straight wins in beer pong.  Oh wait, that was me, 20 years ago.  

I’ll bet you, gentle reader, that you think that even though that Church may not be the same lovable feline he was before the resurrection.  And you’d be right.  He hisses and scratches more people than a 14 year old girl in a lunchroom brawl.  And then this of course, sends everyone into a panic and more bad things start to happen.  Apparently, one of the major events was changed from the book to this film and yes, King gave his blessing for the change.  And now we’ve crossed into spoiler territory so I shall now circle the wagons.

This film is enjoyable, it delivered what it promised.  Gave me a few jumps, not any cheap scares.  Foresaw most of the ending but the very end, didn’t see that angle.  I did wish they better explained the scene with the procession of children wearing pet masks and why they were doing it.  Otherwise, it’s a fine and fun watch.  Must you see it in a theater?  Not a must.  Will you feel disappointed after dropping $15 on it?  I don’t think so.  

6.5 out of 10

 

shazam

DC Films is like the Sword in the Stone.  Many people tried pulling out the sword without success as DC has pumped out poor film after mediocre/decent film.  Man of Steel, Justice League, Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman…all awful.  Wonder Woman was fine, Aquaman was meh.  And now we have, Shazam.  The guy anyone barely remembers from the Justice League cartoon but had one hell of an entrance.  Now DC drops this into our collective laps, hoping this bird flies after being thrown out of the nest instead of crashing to earth. Avengers: Endgame is out in 3 weeks, this is their only chance to get a hold of something until the Joker comes out in fall.  How does it fare?  Let’s go to the videotape!  

Shazam is the story of Billy Batson, a 14 year old foster kid constantly looking for his mother whom he lost at a winter fair when he was 3.  Billy finds himself escaping bullies on a subway in Philadelphia (No, his superpowers aren’t avoiding white trash or mouth breathing Eagles fans) when he’s suddenly transported to a wizard, also a Shazam, seeking a replacement for his powers.  By yelling, “Shazam!”, Billy turns into the bigger and even older superhero.  The lighthearted approach of discovering Shazam’s superpowers as well as coming of life experiences with his fellow foster brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Glazer) pays off in spades.  The trial and error method while the boys upload their videos to youtube is quite humorous.  It’s kind of Deadpool-ish without the R rated dick jokes.  Not that I’m opposed to them by any stretch though.  What’s the second most important aspect of a superhero film?  Tits.  Just kidding.  Well, they never have those in films unless it’s Barb Wire which was nothing short of a method of torture outlawed by the Geneva Convention.  The villain, you chowderheads!  Mark Strong plays Thaddeus Silvana, one who was also was interviewed by the previous Shazam wizard but had failed the test.  He wants that power and goddamnit, he’s not stopping at nothing to get it.  Silvana enlists the help of the 7 Deadly Sins who are lizard-like that are named after the, ding, 7 deadly sins.  

Well, let’s give credit where credit is due.  This film breaks the streak of shitty/mediocre DC films not named Batman.  Bale, not Affleck.  C’mon, we’re civilized here.  This film is rock solid except for the final battle does lag a bit.  I also observed Batson’s foster family noticeably checks the multicultural boxes: Asian boy, Asian girl, black girl, Hispanic boy, Samoan dad, Hispanic mom, white girl, white guy.  This film hits all marks and finally correctly copies from the Marvel playbook.  Funny how DC has a better film out there now than Marvel does.  I’m MOST shocked that this made ~54 million opening weekend while Aquaman opened to 67 million.  This film is FAR superior to that bread sandwich.

7.5 out of 10 

Advertisements

Movie reviews: Jack Reacher: Never Look Back and Don’t Breathe

I know, you haven’t seen a film review from me in MONTHS.  That’s because there’s been mostly JACK SHIT (pun intended for today’s review) leading back to Captain America 3 in May.  I thought about it yesterday; I haven’t seen anything in the theater for 3 months.  That’s an INSANELY long absence for a film buff like me but I’m refusing to pay 15 bucks for mediocrity.   “Jack Reacher: Never Look Back” came out yesterday and I really enjoyed the first one so I said fuck it, let’s do a double dip and also see Sully.  Well, NJ transit reared their ugly head yet again and got me to a voiceover audition 25 minutes late which also fucked up my film schedule.  So I called an audible and also checked out, “Don’t Breathe.”

reacher

JR2 is a follow up to the hugely popular book series, Jack Reacher.  They didn’t start with Reacher’s first book for the first film nor do they for this film.  Don’t worry, if you didn’t see the first film or read the books, you won’t be lost at all.  The biggest discrepancy between the books and films is that in the books, Jack Reacher is 6’4″, blonde hair, blue eyes, and 250 lbs of muscle.  And then playing Reacher in the films is Tom Cruise who is very much the opposite of 6’4.”  I swear at one point in a hotel room scene with Cobie Smulders, I thought he was standing on a platform to be at her eye level.

Cruise plays Reacher, a former MP who pretty much just roams the country where he keeps in touch with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) and when he comes to visit her, find out she’s been locked up for treason.  Reacher believes in his friend so he breaks her out so she can prove her innocence and then gets involved into a web of selling US weaponry mixed in with mercenaries.  Action scenes ensure, Tom Cruise runs like he’s mimicking the T-1000 from Terminator 2, and of course, more than your fair share of cutesy poo action film cliches.

I read the book a few years ago but I don’t recall anything except that in the book, Reacher and Turner have “relations.”  Maybe Cruise wanted to keep this PG-13, maybe he didn’t want to fake his way through heterosexual love scenes, who knows.  Does it affect the plot? Of course not.

I had no desire to see the first film in the theater when I saw the trailers because it looked like every blasé action film.  I was pleasantly surprised when I did catch the first JR.  The second trailer was presented just like the first, nothing to get you excited to drop $15 for.  Was I as pleasantly surprised with this one?  Not really.  This film is fine, Cruise does a solid job in 75% of his films.  There are some good action scenes but nothing you haven’t seen before.  Cruise doesn’t push the envelope like he does with the Mission Impossible films.  Then again, if you read the Reacher books, he’s not a glitzy action hero.  You can totally wait for Netflix for this one but if you’re dying to get out of the house and see something, you can see this without feeling ripped off.  If it’s either this or “Madea blackmails Hollywood into funding another film”, always go with couch jumping Cruise.

I’ll give it a 6.5 out of 10.

dont

Again, NJ transit torpedoed my schedule yet again this week so I didn’t get a chance to see Sully.  Instead, I chose a film that did well at the box office but more importantly, got a lot of solid reviews.  That was the suspense film, “Don’t Breathe.”  A trio of Detroit dirtbags (I know, I’m redundant when I say that) enjoy breaking into people’s homes and pilfering valuables.  Out of the gates, I had a problem with these establishing scenes because they’re the sloppiest criminals.  The lead actress lays in the bed of the house they break into.  Sure, leave a few hair strands as evidence so you can get picked up by the cops in 3 days, that’s logical thinking.  Didn’t any of these kids see “the Town” where they shower and buzz their hair?  Or “The Departed” where Marky Mark shows up to kill Matt Damon in scrubs from head to toe?  It’s obvious no one will ever recruit people from Detroit to be in MENSA.  The guys also walk around with reckless abandon and in reality, this film should’ve been 13 minutes long.

Barring those gaping holes in the believability factor, this film does get better.  The gang gets word that a blind, Gulf War veteran is sitting on 300k in cash he got from a payout when his daughter was accidentally killed.  They break in to rob the place and of course, things don’t go as planned.  I guess the rule of thumb is never underestimate a blind guy who’s been trained by the military…except Ben Affleck’s Daredevil, the story of a blind superhero.  True story, Mike? (Insert Mike and the Mad Dog reference?  Check.)  A few twists and turns, a few buttonhole puckering scenes, and the obligatory smash cuts with loud sound effects to make you jump take place,  and you’re out of the theater in 95 minutes.

This film was fine as well.  Can you watch it on netflix and feel just as satiated, no question.  But it was at least more original than the dogshit reboots we’ve seen.  It’s enjoyable and again, between this or Madea (Or as I call her, Black Tootsie), this is a no brainer.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Film review: Batman vs Superman

images

 

Here’s the deal on #batmanvsuperman. I really had no desire to see anything by Zack Snyder ever again. The previews looked unremarkable and did I mention I hate Zack Snyder and consider his films to be lower than Police Academy goes to Moscow? The early critics’ reviews were just as I suspected, scathing.

But I didn’t see this film till easter sunday so I had 2.5 days of peoples’ reviews filling my Facebook newsfeed. The über comic book nerds hated it but I think it also might be due to a major bias against DC. And remember Daniel Tosh’s joke about comic book nerds: “they’ll try and tell you how fast Superman can fly but I can tell them what being in a woman’s vagina feels like.”  So don’t ask their opinion, you’ll just get annoyed and maybe start hating them because of their overbearing passion…just like Bernie Sanders supporters.

So I caved in and saw it because of the multitude of, “the critics overreacted, it’s decent/fine”reviews.  And I’m here to say, the general consensus was right. This film is not as bad as some are making it out to be. This film is alright, maybe fine, but this film definitely has its flaws:

Yes, Affleck isn’t inspiring as Batman. Yes, this film at time feels like forced setup for the JLA film instead of simply  just being in the moment. Yes, Wonder Woman kicks ass without explanation of her powers or origin. Yes, Superman continues to be the penultimate uncharismatic superhero of all. And Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? I wasn’t feeling this choice at all.  He’s more neurotic than I remember Luthor; Gene Hackman, he ain’t.

The fight scenes are what you expect; brow beating you with CGI but hey, it’s a superhero film so fine.  One friend commented that one particular scene in the previews where Batman fights a bunch of henchmen that it’s very, “Arkham Knight-ish.” I agree and enjoyed that sequence.

But this film didn’t suck like Batman or Robin like some make it out to be, it was fine. I’m not buying it on blu ray and I’m glad I paid 7 bucks for it because I saw it at 11:30am. Does this make me anticipate JLA with higher hopes? Slightly but since I’m a gambler, I’m betting on Snyder’s past trend of stinkaroo films. But for now, he gets a SLIGHT reprieve.